Tag Archives: montreal

Bummis: more than cloth diapers, a symbol of sustainability


Me holding a Swimmi with Bummis' founder Betsy Thomas

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of meeting  up with Betsy Thomas, the founder of Bummis cloth diapering at her manufacturing loft in Montreal. I walked in excited to see some cute paterned cloth diapers and talk about waste reduction but left realising I has just met a legend in sustainability.

This woman was a leader in sustainable business long before it was trendy. I immediately wanted to get this woman on the roster of Continue reading

How I got the Khyber Pass restaurant to start recycling

Khyber Pass restaurant in Montreal

How I got the Khyber Pass restaurant in Montreal to start recycling

Last summer during a visit from my sister and brother-in-law, we decided to go to the Khyber Pass, a bring-your-own-wine Afghan restaurant, in Montreal. It’s a charming restaurant with great food (great vegetarian options too) and a cozy terrace in the back. One of the great aspects of dining-out in Montreal is that some restaurants have a bring-your-own-wine licence which encourages people to eat out more since you’re not spending a fortune on wine.


Thus, on this occasion, we did just that. We brought 2 bottles of wine and enjoyed a great meal. While discussing with the friendly waiter who had also lived in Victoria, BC (where my sister lived) we got got into great conversation about food and wine. At the end, he asked if I had finished eating and I made a comment like “Yah, you don’t compost leftovers do you?” to which he replied “No, we don’t even recycle wine bottles”.

Continue reading

What to do with your used batteries

Accumlated dead batteries

Nine (9) years of accumulated used batteries

For over 9 years, this bag of used batteries has been taking up space in my cupboards and dragged around to 5 different apartments because I didn’t know what to do with them. If you’re like me, you would like to be green when it comes to the disposal of alkaline batteries, but haven’t the slightest clue where to take them.

In most cities, some pharmacies, video stores, electronic retailers and universities offer battery disposal services and there are usually eco depots located on the outskirts, but this doesn’t help an urbanite like me sans voiture.

The easiest way to find where to dispose of used batteries is to call your city and ask.

In Montreal, Éco-Quartier, an organization whose mandate is to manage city environmental issues, offers battery disposal. They’re not the most centralised organisation, which each neighbourhood managing their own website and offering different services, but it’s a start. Continue reading

Upcycling; the new trend in fashion and home décor is strong in Montreal

Me with clutch purse

Me with clutch purse made from recycled pop-can pull-tabs

According to Wikipedia, Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.

I recently learned about upcycling after a Sunday morning brunch with a friend at Aux Vivres, a favourite Montreal vegan restaurant, when we discovered a hip, little, eco shop while walking down St Laurent blvd.  Il était deux fois (Once upon two times) is the newest boutique to have opened up by an American transplant that saw a market for recycled items at a premium price.

Candy wrapper and pop-can purses

Purses made from discarded candy wrappers and pop-can pull tabs

Decisions, decisions; so many purses to choose from. These chic and unique purses are definite art pieces. What I really like the most about them, besides being made from what would otherwise be discarded, is that they are all fair-trade. Each purse is signed by the maker themselves from a shop in Brazil.  I won’t lie, these purses cost a pretty penny, i believe the clutches start around $50 or so, but at least you know the money is going to a good cause.

Back in April 2009, I bought an Ecoist purse at the airport in DC, that was made with misprinted magazine papers from Mexico. I’ve also seen them made form New York subway tickets and Wrigley gum wrappers. And if you think this sounds junky, don’t be fooled, these purses are showing up in the latest fashion magazines like Vogue and on runways across Europe!  Green fashion is so hot right now!

Cork board and hockey mirror

Cork boards made from reused wine corks and hockey stick mirrors

Do you like to drink wine? I sure do! This wine cork board is the perfect way to reuse corks and who doesn’t need an extra place to pin important pieces of paper or concert tickets to a wall? And talk about these mirrors made from broken hockey sticks! With such a vintage look, they would be the perfect decoration for any boys’ bedroom wall.

Pop-can ring bracelets

Escama Studio pop-can pull-tab bracelets and necklaces

These jewellery pieces were the best. Necklaces and bracelets made from pop-can pull-tabs. These ones were made from the Brazilian company Escama Studio. Whoever would have thought that something so cheap could produce something so glamourous.

I bought a bracelet for myself. It cost me around $25 but I feel good knowing that my money is going to a fair-trade company helping to get Brazilians off the street.

The next time you go to throw something away in the trash, just ask yourself if there’s a better way. Could you reuse it in some way shape or form to create a masterpiece? Could it become the next art project for your kids perhaps?

If visiting Montréal, check out  this 3-block strech of St Laurent boulevard between Mont-Royal and Villeneuve which is now being dubbed the Green Mile full of eco-boutiques, veggy restaurants and high-end consignment stores.

Il était deux fois is located at 4539 St-Laurent Boulevard in Montreal (1 block north of Mont-Royal).

Meet Georges Laraque at the World Premiere screening of Earthlings in Montreal on Jan 8

Georges Laraque turns vegan

NHL superstar, Georges Laraque, turns vegan

(Film info below)

Barely 7 months ago, this NHL hockey superstar, Georges Laraque, shocked fans across North America with his decision to become vegan after watching the award-winning film Earthlings. As if he didn’t get enough flack for being a “black hockey player”, he took media criticism to another level with his decision to defend the animals and the environment. Despite it all, he continues to make a huge difference in the world and for that – he truly rocks!

I recently had the pleasure of meeting this true hockey hero this past month for his birthday at Chu Chai, Montreal’s best Continue reading

Montreal takes stand against climate change with the launch of BIXI

Whoever thought green initiatives wouldn’t be cool for urbanites never met BIXI!

BIXI with Montreal skyline

BIXI with Montreal skyline

Just over a month ago, the City of Montreal launched BIXI, North America’s first public bike system. It was part of the city’s overall object to improve public transport and reduce the amount of vehicles on the road. Continue reading

Montrealers; don't miss the 5th annual Sustainable Business Conference at Concordia University

Me, Dov Charney, Chantal and Anouk

Me, Dov Charney (American Apparel), Chantal and Anouk

During my last year in university, I met a group of business students who like me, were looking for another business model that incorporated sustainability, social ethics and most importantly, environmental well-being.  With them, I helped organize the first ever Sustainable Business Conference at the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.

The first year discussed and debated if going “green” could help the bottom line and private versus public responsibility in achieving sustainable businesses and societies. The event was such a success that it inspired a course on sustainability in the  business faculty. A huge accomplishment in itself!

In its first year, we were able to get many CEO’s and business executives from organizations ranging from Hydro Quebec, Soyummi and Nature’s Path foods to our favourite, the scandalous Dov Charney from American Apparel, known for its non sweat-shop t-shirts.  That in itself was a major crowd drawer.

2005 SBC attendees

2005 SBC attendees

Five years later, the SBC in stronger than ever and its 5th annual Sustainable Business Conference, “Building our Future” will take place on Friday, February 13th. The event will allow attendees to learn about environmentally conscious architecture, construction, and design. If you are considering becoming a consultant in green buildings, sustainable business or curious about the green buildings of the future, this conference is for you.

Tickets are $10 and include a wine and cheese cocktail afterwards. You can purchase them online at jsg-jmsb.ca or at the tables in the lobbies/mezzanines of the GM and Hall buildings of Concordia University, 1455 de Maisonneuve West.

I myself will be attending the wine and cheese afterwards and look forward to passionate discussion on green living and sustainable business with other like minded people. Hope to see you there!